08 July 2008

In Which We Discuss the Gawain Tour

I'm in Leeds at the moment. It's wet. It's very wet. Actually, I tell a lie, it's sorta wet interspersed with damp. Let's be fair.

But it's England nonetheless, and the dining room still has stewed tea, which makes me happy, and they give me soy milk for it and make gluten free toast, cause they are Excellent Stewards over in the dining room, and I give my paper today and already had my business dinner and made Big Decisions*, and things are going pretty well.

I didn't have the time or the money to stop in London and see friends (for which I apologize, but it's been that sort of year), so I'm just flying in and out of Leeds and only staying for the conference, BUT I did go, on the first day, on The Tour of Gawain Country.

The tour was based on the work of Ralph Elliot, who's written on the landscape he believes was in the Pearl poet's head for the setting of "Gawain and the Green Knight."** And I teach the poem often, and indeed am teaching it in both the fall and the spring semesters this year, so that's all legitimate and stuff.

But really, I wanted a chance to walk around in beautiful country and get some exercise and be amused by being a medievalist. Cause what the hell, if you're not amused by being a medievalist, you're in the wrong line of work.

And it was a tour, and a mighty tour.

I came back exhausted and wet and muddy, from tramping over roots and wet mossy rocks in the high forest, and clambering up and down wet mossy rocks into a crevice in an old crag. And! At one point we had to walk over slippery rocks and a fallen tree branch, to pass safely over a giant mud hole!

This was all excellent. It was just like being Indiana Jones's dad! Ah, the life of the Adventurous Medievalist.

The bus load of medievalists acquitted ourselves well. Nobody fell down, nobody got lost in the mudhole, nobody required assistance.

And the packed lunches were very nice.

*Actually this consisted of the Big Boss saying, we want to put this piece of your work in this other volume, ok? and me saying, sure, why not.

**OMG! I was looking for useable links to the Gawain poem, and I found a Gawain and the Green Knight Paper Doll Set! I kid you not! Too bad they only show one side of the shield, so you can't see the face of Mary.


Marjie said...

Ah, rain and mud. Sounds like home.

Kenny said...

Pandora -- I'm off to see Pentangle tonight who are big on their Gawain stuff. If you check the wiki entry for them, you'll get the idea.

Strange that I've long been a fan of Pre-Raphaelite art and all its sphere, yet I'd never heard of Gawain until you mentioned it, and then, bam!, twice in two days. Spooky.

Anonymous said...

oh my gawd, was he THAT camp, the stance is SO Freddy Mercury don't you know:0) Glad the mud and the rain suit, if it's anything like here today you'll be up to your armpits with snorkel at the ready. What a grand British summer this is turning out to be!

Indiana Jones's Dad?? sex change and quite a few years added then:0) I can picture you with the hat and the bullwhip but maybe I shouldn't go there ha-ha. But at least Indiana is a good Welsh boy;0)

deborah oak said...

Yes, it must be amusing to be a medievalist!!! This makes me think that hopefully someday there will be someone tromping about in the Haight of the future and will be feeling amusement over studying the end of the 20th Century.

Anonymous said...

heck so near yet so far....
you were so near my home town of todmorden.....

sorry you had 'english' weather

Reya Mellicker said...

And so what isn't amusing about being a medievalist, eh??

Your new house sounds ... ummmm ... interesting. Glad you're making it liveable. Are you sure the previous owners were human because the poufs of lace on the walls, etc. sound so fairy-ish.


CarlBrannen said...

Saw "The Count of Monte Cristo", one of the 1930s cuts, with mom the other day. This influenced me to pick up "The Man in the Iron Mask". And I thought of you while reading a chapter.